The only health insurance co-op in Iowa will include Davenport's Genesis Health System, it was announced Monday.
CoOportunity Health and the University of Iowa Health Alliance will collaborate to introduce two health plan products this fall. Of the 24 such health co-ops that will exist in the United States this year, it is the only one operating in Iowa.
The plans include all organizations in the University of Iowa Health Alliance. In addition to Genesis, more than 50 other hospitals and 160 clinics across the state are involved.
"This is our strategy to make affordable health care accessible to those who will buy insurance on the exchanges," said Doug Cropper, the president and CEO of Genesis Health System.
Beginning in January, federal law requires that each state have a health insurance exchange. The partnership between the University of Iowa Health Alliance and CoOportunity will offer two products on the exchange: one called CoOportunity Choice UI Health Allliance and the other named CoOpportunity Preferred UI Health Alliance.
The open-access "choice" plan provides consumer savings when alliance facilities and clinicians are used for some services. The "preferred" plan provides the most cost-effective choices for those who use the alliance facilities and clinicians exclusively.
Both plans have been submitted to the Iowa Insurance Division for approval.
"Our collaboration means Iowans will benefit significantly from these unique health insurance options, particularly this year when the Iowa Health Insurance Marketplace opens for the first time," said Dan Kueter, the executive director of the University of Iowa Health Alliance.
Cropper noted that the state's largest health insurance provider — Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield — recently announced it would not join Iowa's exchange until 2015. "This is the only large company for the exchanges in 2014," he said of the co-op.
Health insurance exchanges will alter the way millions of Americans buy coverage, Cropper said, comparing online use of the exchanges to how many people currently organize their vacations.
"It's like how many people now buy airline tickets. That's how our health care insurance programs will be on the exchanges," he added. The official sign-up date is Oct. 1.